Hagley Hall
Hagley Hall ( grid reference SO920807 ) is an 18th century house in Hagley, Worcestershire. It was the creation of George Lyttelton, 1st Baron Lyttelton (1709”“73), secretary to Frederick, Prince of Wales, poet and man of letters and briefly Chancellor of the Exchequer. Before the death of his father in 1751, he began to landscape the grounds in the new Picturesque style, and between 1754 and 1760 it was he who was responsible for the building of the house as it is seen today.


There has been a park at Hagley since the reign of Edward III of England in the 14th century. Probably the most famous event here took place just after the Gunpowder plot and before the present hall was constructed. At the time the house was described as "convenient and built mostly of wood". After the plot was discovered, two of the miscreants, Robert Wintour and Stephen Littleton escaped arrest at Holbeche House and travelled north to ask Humphrey Littleton for his assistance. At the time Muriel Littleton, the widow of John Lyttelton who had died in prison, lived at Hagley Park. However Humphrey had the use of the house. They were captured at Hagley Park on the 9 January 1606 because the authorities had been informed of their presence by Littleton's cook - John Fynwood. He had been alarmed by the quantity of food that was being consumed by Littleton and had seen Robert and Stephen. Despite Littleton's protests that he was not harbouring anyone, a search was made and another servant, David Bate, showed where the two plotters were escaping from a courtyard into the countryside. The two had been on the run for two months and they had Littleton to thank for evading the law for that long.

The present landscape
The present landscape was created from about 1739 to 1764, with follies designed by Lord Camelford, Thomas Pitt of Encombe, James "Athenian" Stuart, and Sanderson Miller. The follies include Wychbury Obelisk on Wychbury Hill built in 1764 for Sir Richard Lyttelton. This is visible for many miles; the Temple of Theseus built from 1759 to c.1762 at a cost of £300. This was a gift from Admiral Smith, Lyttelton's half-brother. Other small buildings include some small classical buildings; a sham ruined castle and the 'The Four Stones', or Ossian's Tomb as it was termed, on the summit of Clent Hill. Horace Walpole, notoriously hard to please, wrote after a visit in 1753, "I wore out my eyes with gazing, my feet with climbing, and my tongue and vocabulary with commending". The hall itself was designed by Sanderson Miller and is the last of the great Palladian houses to be built in England. On Christmas Eve 1925, a disastrous fire swept through the house destroying much of the Library and many of the pictures. Despite boiling lead pouring from the roof through the house, all those within managed to escape. At the height of the blaze when nothing more could be salvaged from inside, the 9th Viscount was heard to mutter "my life's work destroyed". He and his wife painstakingly restored the house, except for the staff quarters on the top floor. In 2009 the hall is the family home to Christopher Charles Lyttelton, 12th Viscount Cobham and his wife Tessa. The house contains a fine example of Rococo plasterwork by Francesco Vassali and a unique collection of 18th century Chippendale furniture and family portraits, including works by Van Dyck, Joshua Reynolds, Cornelius Johnson and Peter Lely. It is set in 350 acres (1.4 km²) of landscaped deer park grazed by Fallow Deer of several colours. Wychbury Hill, although part of the Estate, is kept open to public. A 19th century account of the house and park from and the Lyttelton Family ghost story are available.

The Great Western Railway built a series of 4-6-0 steam locomotives names after various halls. Locomotive 4930 was named Hagley Hall and is preserved on the nearby Severn Valley Railway.